nothin like being lonely at
the gay club, and dancing anyway
so alive so alive so alive, and
I can feel all the ways I’m dying.
but I dance dance dance
Do you believe in life after love?
Do you believe in love after love?
Do you believe in life after life?
yeah I know I still got the wounds
time can’t heal,
but doesn’t the glitter hide
our blood so well? two-step
your regrets next to me
it’s like looking in a mirror,
the words of a late night prayer
being here tonight, being here when
the world’s saying / I really don’t think you’re strong enough
hands in the air
everything’s pointing up up
and we get down
we get down
sweat becomes my back
in the salvation of strobe lights
I live in all the dark spaces in between
and I hold it together
we’re all just holding ourselves
I can feel something inside me say
it’s nothing it’s nothing
said I’m something
Do you believe in life after love / Do you believe in life / Do you believe in / Do you believe / Do
Music can hold enormous power in memories and experiences, transporting us instantly to an age, location, or person. What sonic joys, mysteries, disbelief, and clarity have you experienced? Identify songs of influence in your life and explore them like variations on a theme, melding syntax and song structure, recalling the seriousness or levity that accompanies. Whether it’s an account of when a specific song first entered your life, the process of learning to play a song, teaching someone a song, experiencing the same song in different places as it weaves through your life, unbelievable radio timing, sharing songs with those in need, tracking the passing down of songs, creative song analysis, music as politics, etc, I am interested in those ineffable moments and welcoming submissions of your own variations on a theme, as drawn from your life’s soundtrack. Please email submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org and keep an eye out for others’ Variations.
**(“song” is a broad phrase: could be a pop song, a traditional tune, a symphony, commercial jingles, a hummed lullaby, 2nd grade recorder class horror stories, etc)**
Marissa Layne Johnson is a poet, educator, and activist living in Boston, Massachusetts. Her work has been published in Bustle Magazine, One Billion Rising, The Voices Project, Impossible Archetype, HYSTERIA Magazine, Dirty Paws Poetry Review, OFI Press, The Broke Bohemian (where she was selected as Editor’s Choice for the edition), HASHTAG QUEER VOL. 2, ImageOutWrite literary journal, and The Hunger. Marissa has been nominated for a 2018 Pushcart Prize in Poetry, and she recently completed the Iowa Writer’s Workshop 2018 Summer Session. You can follow her work on Instagram at @marissalaynepoetry